You’ve just rented a storage unit, but that doesn’t mean it comes without stipulations. There are some items that are either illegal or impractical to keep in a storage unit. Here are a few things you should find room for at home.

Musical Instruments

It’s perfectly legal to store musical instruments in a storage unit, but that doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to do. The best place for your grand piano, collection of guitars, or the trombone you haven’t played since high school is a safe place in your attic or spare room.
If you absolutely don’t have room for your instrument in your home, spend the extra money to get a climate-controlled unit. Instruments are made of wood, leather, or metal that can warp or tarnish over time, so make sure you know how to prepare them properly before you just put them into a unit for an extended period of time.

Live Animals

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s been known to happen. Storing live animals in a storage unit is not only cruel, but illegal. Whether you’re an animal rights’ activist or not, a storage unit is no place for living creatures. On hot days, the temperatures inside the units will skyrocket—just think of how hot and stuffy your car is when you leave it outside for a few hours during the summer.

On another note, it’s also illegal for you to live inside a storage unit. So don’t think it’s a smart way to save on rent.

Important Documents

Again, this might seem like a no-brainer. But if you think that a storage unit might be a safe place to hide important papers, you might want to think again. Storage units are just as susceptible to theft or natural disaster as homes are, and your important documents (tax returns, bank statements, passports, financial information, etc.) are much more secure in a safe or fireproof box at home.

Heirlooms and Photos

Much like paper documents, photo albums or heirlooms are much safer at home. If the temperature in the unit is not controlled, priceless heirlooms like old furniture or knickknacks could be severely warped or cracked by extreme heat or cold. If Rodents or insects get into your unit, they could damage your possessions beyond repair.
If you miss a payment or two and your unit is auctioned off, you may lose something irreplaceable. It’s always best to keep your priceless, precious family antiques safe at home.

Combustible or Hazardous Materials

Dangerous materials like chemicals, fireworks, firearms, gasoline, and lead paint should definitely be kept out of your storage unit. Not only do you run the risk of catching fire to your own items or contaminating your own storage unit, but you put other units around you at risk. Keeping flammable, combustible, or toxic materials in self-storage units is illegal, so don’t try to set up your own personal chemistry lab in your rented space.


Not only does food spoil if it’s left in a storage unit, but it attracts pests that could infest the entire unit. If you don’t want mice or cockroaches burrowing into your fabrics, ruining your antiques, or worming into your Christmas decoration boxes, don’t store perishable goods (or anything that smells) in your unit. Canned goods are the one exception to the rule—they’ll be safe from rodents, temperatures, and spoiling no matter where you keep them.


Storage units are not a safe bet for expensive electronics. Again, when the temperature soars, inside your unit is going to get even hotter, and extreme heat can permanently damage your electronics. If you don’t want to be paying to store something that no longer works, keep your electronics in a more moderate climate, even if that means paying the extra for a climate-controlled unit.

Almost everything else you need to store is fair game. Of course, you need to be careful with all of your possessions—storage units aren’t failsafe. Self-storage can be a lifesaver when you’re moving through a company like Wheaton World Wide Moving, but just be careful that you’re not too lax about what you store or how you store it long-term. Keep the irreplaceable and fragile items at home.

Author's Bio: 

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.